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We live in a world at war. God gets blamed for all that is considered “bad”, while mankind takes the credit for all of the good things. Until we understand the gravity of the situation, it is unlikely that we will be willing to reconsider our expectations, behavior, or mission.
But what is really going on? It’s so easy to think that everything is fine. It’s just hard to get ahead. Everyone has setbacks. All relationships have trouble. All kids struggle. It’s actually amazing that we experience any peace at all.
Let’s Evaluate Our Lens for the Future. One of the threats to your faith is unrealistic expectations. Books have been written and stories have been told which have led many to believe that the end times can only play out a certain way. No matter how “certain” your end times teacher is, the truth is no one knows how the final days will finalize. When we read biblical prophecies, we should ask, “What lens do I interpret these verses through?” Fear is the most common lens, and we should not view things through a lens of fear.
Revelation 12:3-4 (NLT) Then I witnessed in heaven another significant event. I saw a large red dragon with seven heads and ten horns, with seven crowns on his heads. 4 His tail swept away one-third of the stars in the sky, and he threw them to the earth. He stood in front of the woman as she was about to give birth, ready to devour her baby as soon as it was born.
We as believers in Jesus Christ need to prepare for the path before us. The Bible tells us that many will lose their faith. You don’t have to lose yours.
The Dragon Tried To End Them
The Dragon Started This. Jesus gives John the image of a dragon who captures the person of Lucifer, now known as Satan. In this verse, the dragon attacks without provocation. What was his reason for this attack? Did he say to himself, “I’ll be my own god. I do what I want. I am worthy of worship?” The “why” isn’t very important when you see the aggressiveness of his assault.
Revelation 12:4 NLT …He stood in front of the woman as she was about to give birth, ready to devour her baby as soon as it was born.
This is what was happening in Eden. This was the eternal reality driving the Sunday School picture. This is also what was happening with Mary and was why the babies in Bethlehem died. There was a dragon, determined to be god, a tyrant god, demanding that all worship him. But, something foiled his plans!
The Dragon is Determined. Even though his plan is thwarted, He doesn’t quit. He doesn’t back down. He loses and keeps coming back again. He fails in the garden, as mankind did not die there. He fails in heaven and is thrown out, taking his pitiful army with him. He is ultimately insulted beyond comprehension. Mankind receives a pursuit, sacrifice, and restoration that he doesn’t want, but it’s an insult nonetheless. God’s love for you is an insult to the powerful Lucifer, (Satan, here seen as the dragon). If he would not back down from a fight in heaven, why do you think he will leave you alone?
The Dragon is Furious. Fear is healthy when it preserves life. Fear is toxic when it inhibits life. The dragon has people so afraid that they are afraid to really live and to share the life they have been given. While we need to see how serious the situation is, we still must choose faith over fear. Something is bigger than your fear, bigger than your enemy. We are not defenseless. We are not alone in this fray. We are sheep pursued by a wolf. YES. But we also have a shepherd.
They DEFEATED Him!
Revelation 12:11 NLT And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die.
You need to see that they DID NOT ESCAPE him! We cannot hide from this. We will not escape this. We have an appointment with battle, war, chaos and with victory!
They overcame through what Jesus did FOR them.
They overcame through what Jesus did IN Them.
They overcame in that they loved Jesus MORE than their own lives and their own selves.
When we stop waiting for a rescue mission, we will start winning. We will beat the Dragon.
The Purpose of Revelation
Revelation 1:3 (NLT) God blesses the one who reads the words of this prophecy to the church, and he blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says, for the time is near.
The book of Revelation is meant to encourage you, not scare you. You see, Jesus has got this all under control. The dragon is going down. Jesus is going to straighten this mess out. Let me refresh your memory.
Revelation 1:17-18 (NLT) … “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.
That is our Lord and Savior. That is God who became flesh. Emmanuel. God with us. The one who came to do what no man could do. Why is this book sent to encourage us?
Matthew 10:22 (NLT) And all nations will hate you because you are my followers. But everyone who endures to the end will be saved.
Revelation is sent to help you persevere. Things are likely to get worse before they get better. Your hope must dwell in the savior, not the condition of your circumstances.
The Battle Rages
What do you do when you find yourself in the midst of the battle? Do you try to quit and go home, only to have the battle follow you there? Or, do you grab a medics bag and save everyone that can be saved? Do you pick up a sword and defend the innocent from the onslaught of lies, deceit, and destruction?
Many will lose their faith. Stand firm in Jesus as the foundation of your faith, the object of your affection, and the purpose for your existence. When the dust settles, you will still be standing.
Talk About It…
- Have 2 or 3 people in your group read Revelation 12:1-18 from different translations.
- Have 2 or 3 people in your group retell the story of Revelation 12:1-18 in their own words.
- Highlight or underline any words or phrases that you find interesting in Revelation 12:1-18 printed at the beginning of this guide. Discuss your selections with the group.
- Discuss the passage. How does it overlap with Bible History? What connections do you see to some Bible stories?
- Discuss Revelation 12:11. How did they overcome the Dragon? How does their victory help us? Who are these people? Will you overcome the Dragon? How?
- Have someone read Revelation 1:11-18. Have two people describe the passage in their own words.
- What causes so much fear when people read the book of Revelation? Discuss some reasons that we should not fear when we read it?
- If you really believe this is from God, what should you do? What did you discover that you would be excited to share with a friend?
“People get ready, Jesus Is Coming.” (Crystal Lewis, People Get Ready, 1996) We as believers in Jesus Christ need to prepare for the path before us. The Bible tells us that many will lose their faith. You don’t have to lose yours.
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